Archive for November, 2015

Valencia Marathon

What a city for runners!! Before we arrived in Valencia we hadn’t appreciated how focused on running Valencia is. They have named themselves “Cuidad del Running” the city of running. The facilities for runners are fantastic…. There is a permanent running specific 5km long path through a park in the city centre with fantastic surface and facilities. 50,000 runners are reported to use it each weekend!!! Elsewhere in the city and the huge park, there are random facilities for runners, tracks, sprint straights etc.
Back to the marathon! All was fantastically well organised, even the hotels were set up ready for runners with early breakfast etc on race day. The expo, start and finish is in the very modern “City of Arts and Sciences” area. And with quite a few hotels just a couple of hundred metres away, it makes for a very enjoyable experience not having to travel far away! The great thing about this event is that the 10K and Marathon set off at exactly the same time from the same place. They follow the same route (segregated though) until around 5K, then the 10K-ers take their “32K shortcut” back to the finish area!! My Wife did the 10K and it really made it feel like it was all part of the same event.
The marathon course was great; flat, superb organisation, really well supported by enthusiastic crowds shouting “animar! animar!” Which directly translated means “encourage”!! At mile 12 the course got very narrow with crowds leaning in and cheering like mad, it reminded me of the Tour De France hill climbs! Such was the encouragement, I recorded my fastest mile… Some 30seconds faster than my target pace! Oops!! The route took in lots of the city sights. Then it was on to that very famous finish we see in the running magazines….. It was enough to take away the pain in my legs!
Race conditions were perfect too, a sunny day with no wind, temp at the start was 13 degrees rising to 20 by the time I had finished.
Finish time was 3:07:34, I couldn’t manage a PB but a very enjoyable race anyway!! Well recommended!!

Club 2016 Marathon/Half/Relay (Edinburgh)

Following this years succesful Manchester Marathon in May where twelve Tortoises headed south (and returned with nine PB’S) a marathon event closer to home has been chosen as this years official club marathon.

The ever popular Edinburgh Marathon Running Festival on Sunday 29th May 2016 has been selected,

The reason we have selected this event is that there are three running options the full marathon, half marathon or for teams of four to run a marathon relay.

Winter is now upon us but spring is not far away, having a race target really will help your winter running.


Full Marathon

Club members entry is £53 and note this event has sold out in the first week of January for the last four years.

When you have entered on-line let Darrell or George know so you can be included in the longer training run’ at the weekends.

Half Marathon

Club members entry is £31

When you have entered on-line let Darrell or George know so you can be included in the longer training run’ at the weekends

Marathon relay

Teams of four entry is £105 per team of four as with the full marathon this has sold out early January the last few years.

Leg 1: The Royal Leg – 8.3 miles

Leg 2: The Cock & Pan Leg – 5.5 miles

Leg 3: The Gosford Leg – 8 miles

Leg 4: The Glory Leg – 4.4 miles

When  you have  a team of four please enter your team on-line and let Darrell or George know you have entered.

Depending on numbers we will be looking to take a bus to transport runners from Troon to Edinburgh and back followed by an optional meal back in Troon later in the evening.

Let the training begin !!!

Manchester 2015 squad.

The Squad

The Squad




November 5k

On a cold and windy night Lewis Wilson blew everyone away and set a PB and achieved his very first place finish at this months 5K time trial,

We had a great turnout of 22 runners despite the wind and rain with a number of new members making there 5k debut on the club time trial, November also saw the second month of new members and less experienced runners being able to set off ten minutes ahead of more experienced runners. after being driven to the start on Ottoline Drive.

This staggered start helps both runners who are fairly new to the club and are still building up both distance and pace and those more experienced and faster runners, who then have runners ahead to try and catch up, this month a number of our new members even finish ahead of the second group of more ecxperienced runners.

The club is open to new runners (we have a new to running group) or indeed any more experienced runners looking for more structured running during the cold winter evenings, we meet at Marr college Gym 7pm on both Tuesdays and Thursdays – go on give it a try

Results on 2015 Tab at the top of the page




Troon Tortoises A view from the Hills

Over the last few weeks a number of Tortoises have made there running debuts on grass at the XC in Kilmarnock and also ran a couple of hill races, who better than our very own Ladies Club Champion Anne Noble to give us an insight into this type of event and run

Hill Running – one Tortoise’s view
I love hill running because it releases the child in me. Having spent much of my childhood enjoying the Scottish countryside, I relish that feeling of carefree pleasure that comes from having reached the top of a hill and then tearing back down the other side. Quite different from the steady effort made over a road race.
There is a good introduction to hill racing on the Scottish Hill Racing website which it would be wise to read if you are planning your first race: … 202012.pdf
Having started racing later in life I’ve only tried a few Ayrshire races and there are many Scottish races I have not run so I hope others will add their comments. Over the years these have included:
• Kaim in April fills me with both the anticipation of being in the hills for the first time that year and also the knowledge that there is a tough challenge ahead. The first few hundred metres are on the road in Fairlie and then it’s up, up, up! If you prefer to wear shorts rather than leggings then be prepared to have your legs scratched on the heather. The first time I attempted Kaim I fell over twice in the mud but it just made me laugh I was having such fun acting like a kid. As with ultras, the people are friendly and there are always a few competitors from other Ayrshire clubs. On a clear evening the view is incredible over the marina at Largs, over Cumbrae and across to Arran. If you are lucky enough to have good weather then the drive back south along the coast can be lovely too.
• In May this year I finally managed to get to Arran to attempt Goatfell. There is always a check with the local Mountain Rescue group before the race proceeds and there was some doubt about the conditions (I heard one runner say we were only getting our photo taken so that they would know who to search for later in the day) but we set off from the sports centre in Brodick to the sound of bagpipes and were lucky and there was a magnificent view from the top (yes, it is worth taking a minute to look). A long route but very rewarding and the tea and cake at the end is most welcome. A fabulous Saturday out.
• On a Sunday afternoon in June you can head south to Girvan to take part in the Lowland Games Saugh Hill race. This gives a completely different context with local dignitaries starting the race and a very public finish back in to Victoria Park.
• Mid week in July brings the Cairn Table race organised by East Ayrshire. Even July can bring bad weather and I did once drive over from Irvine only to find it had been cancelled. Be prepared to get wet and muddy! This is true of all the hills but the flat section at the beginning (and end) can be really boggy. I really like Cairn Table and this was my first hill.
• There’s a great atmosphere at Straiton on a Saturday afternoon in August when villagers hold their annual fete which includes the Craigengower Hill Race. You might be fooled into thinking that it is a comfortable run as you make your way through the pretty village but, once off the road, you soon realise that even the farmer’s field is on a hill and it becomes harder to breathe. After an interesting twist through the forest (by which point the children have returned) you will emerge at the stile from which only the fittest can run up the hill proper. Mere mortals like me are happy to walk to the top (again a great view) and then run, slide or slip all the way back down to the forest returning the same way to the field where the fete takes place. A short race but still very much a challenge. If you have young children it is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with lots of events. If you don’t, then you might want to indulge in home baking or an ice-cream.
• In September make your way to Glen Trool and tackle the Merrick. Having walked the route a few times I knew the summit could be windy but my first attempt at the hill race the route was shortened due to wind speeds of 70mph! We were very grateful to the marshalls who braved the wind and cold and, indeed, it is the first time I have seen prizes given to marshalls when some who had helped out for several years were thanked with a gift and a warm round of applause from the runners. Last year I returned to tackle the complete route and loved it.
Don’t forget that hill running has its own risks and some of the above require waterproofs, compass, map, etc. Although most of the races I have run are out and back the same way, it is not always easy to be sure of your route.
Scottish Hill Racing is also a good source of information:
As you will have realised, I tend to stick with the Ayrshire races so you may want to try further afield. Scottish Hill Runners have a list of the 2015 races which will give you an idea of what 2016 might look like. Go on, give it a try!



Strathaven Striders 10k

1st November saw five Tortoises head from Troon along the A71 to run Strathaven Striders Run With The Wind 10k , with the West Of Scotland in the grip of some crazy weather, bright blue skies no wind and warm conditions in November ?? Even Darrell ran with just the running vest for the first time this year !!

After a brisk registeration and bag drop it was time to jump onto the bus which then drove you to the start location which was up in the hills where you start under the wind turbines above Strathaven, with pipers playing and a drone filming the start we were soon on our way, with most of the route downhill it was a comfortable pace but when you hit an incline it was a shock to the legs.

Matt was first Tortoise home followed by Rob Carroll who continued his fine running of late with a PB.

On completion of the race you were able to enter your bib number into a computer and get a readout of your chip time, pace, final position and age group position a nifty bit of kit and one i have not seen at other races.

There was just time afterwords to catch up and take advantage of the excellent home made soup and sandwiches before heading back to sunny Troon.

Results on the ‘2015 Results tab’